Mk1 Escort Rebuild – Retropower Gordon Murray Episode 6


In this episode the Retropower guys take a look at the progress on the bodywork. Most of the outer panels are on and complete. The custom dash metalwork is in place and some extra cross braces and seat mounts have been welded in to give a bespoke driving position requested by Gordon. The pedals have been modified to allow the room for a clutch foot rest and the steering column swapped out for an Opel Mantra unit that has a crumple zone.  We also get a look at the start of work on the rear suspension. A turret kit is going in, however they are converting to landrover freelander struts and coil over suspension with engineered camber adjustors – not sure how I feel about that, but it looks interesting.

Here’s Episode 6:








Transcript :

” in fact it’s pretty obvious if you had a

quick walk around the car you know all
we ask panel work is essentially on
there now so it started to look totally
like a car rather than just a sort of
half torn apart a relic now
a lot of progress has happened on the
car and since we last gonna filmed it
because obviously the last episode we
went to see some of the engine work
being done at Cosworth so you know
everybody’s been screaming and shouting
saying we need to see more work on the
car work on the cars but I think it was
kind of important to show the planning
stages and something we’ve said from the
start was that we’d like to show not
just the work we’re doing on the car but
if we’re getting other people to build
stuff it’d be nice to show those bits
being done as well so that was kind of
why the Cosworth MS it was thrown in
there a bit consequently because it’s
been a long while since we were last
actually looking at work on the car
we’ve done quite a lot on it in fact
it’s pretty obvious if you had a quick
walk around the car you know all the
outer panel work is essentially on there
now so it’s starting to look totally
like a car rather than just a sort of
half torn apart relic now I think when
we last filmed we were talking about the
metalwork at the front we were doing the
inner front panel regarding the radiator
and the oil cooler installation and I
think Gordon came over and was doing a
trial sitting so since then we start at
the front we have we finished all the
metal work for the oil cooler
arrangement we did a load of
modifications on the slam panel
regarding the radiator so we’ve kind of
just made this or meet up much more
pleasingly with the where the radiator
states we’ve got the the outer front
panel on that was just a standard
replacement panel which was pretty good
actually the fit of that was reasonably
pleasing there’s a few bits to tweak as
there often is but not too bad and then
coinciding really nicely with that the
carbon bonnet arrived which when you’re
doing sort of composite panels on a car
you obviously can’t change the shape of
the panel once it’s once it’s done it’s
done you can’t really go adding width or
length to it so you really need to start
with the carbon bits and then knowing
all the steel parts to that because it’s
a lot easier to change the shape of the
steel bits yeah with the bonnet one
thing we did up to do because most of
these are being marketed to the
they don’t put any of the hardware in
for the bonnet caches so you because
they’re normally gonna be on pins so
that was the sort of major change
related to the bonnet we’re adding
there’s a there’s a metal plate which
we’ve put in under here which is almost
goes all the way across there and it’s
got nuts welded to it there there and
there which for the main kind of striker
pin there and the safety caps bolts on
there and we could have slot in the back
here which we try to do it as small as
possible so the thing was kind of
threaded in really okay and then bonded
in the inside there we’ve done a swap
that’s coming just about the width of my
hand here that whole metal plate was
threaded in through and then and then
clumped through and bonded onto the
other side the underside of that hollow
section there so we’ve kind of got the
hardware there to mount all the original
catches it did come obviously with the
hinge mounts and yeah the quality of the
bonnets pretty good to be honest we’ve
been happy with that and the clearances
as it was when we mocked up the steel
one they’re still it’s tight on the cam
cover but there is room
so we got the carbon bonnet on there and
then it was a case of getting the
replacement wings on and getting those
all aligned which as usual with pattern
parts normally was a complete pain these
wings were out of shape in a lot of
areas particularly down the back so we
did a lot of work reshaping the rear
edge of the wing I think we ended up
actually unfolding the fold on the back
and adding about five mils on the back
and refolding it and also adjusting the
profile along here to match the bonnet
more pleasing now I mean there’s still a
little bit of work to be done on the
wings but they’re they’re pretty much
there and there was some work done
around this edge here as well these this
sort of intersection as a welded piece
on here that meets up with the front
panel it just wasn’t in the right place
so we had to run spot weld those modify
them and re spot weld them in the right
place so it all met up nicely and but we
got there in the end we’re getting there
there’s still a little bit of work just
to get the lines a bit crisper and get
them the meet up to the valance better
they just I think they just screwed on
at the minute so they’re not they’ve not
been welded on for the final time but
we’re pretty happy with how the gaps are
all sitting now I’ve got the gaps and a
scuttle nice the gaps to the wings are
okay so that’s that’s reasonably
pleasing once we got kind of the wings
and the front valance and all of that
lot set that then allowed us to move on
to doing the doors and there was a bit
of an about-turn
on the doors if you remember in the
earlier episodes we talked about doing
the carbon Boonton bonnet and then doing
our mininum skins on the doors that was
the plan then we started getting sort of
extending lead time shall we say on the
on the other minion door skins which I
have made to order and in the meantime I
also saw in person some aluminium skins
that were done for a Cortina and I had
concerns over the the fact that they’re
not particularly straight shall we say I
mean that they were pretty good but you
know we want when we do the paint and
finish on this we want it to be
absolutely crack on you know like
perfect ripple free when you look along
the lines and we
worried that with the aluminium skins
being not absolutely dead straight we’d
end up having to put that much filler or
you know build primer on them that
they’d probably end up weighing more
than steel skins you know and for a huge
amount of cost and hassle involved in
the meantime you know it started to
become not a very obvious choice
potentially we were going to end up with
extra cost extra hassle you know the
potential corrosion issues with our
mininum as steel as well all for
something which might actually be
heavier in the end so kind of gone
around the houses with that we actually
decided to just go with the steel ones
you know the final kind of decider on
that being that the steel skins these
ones are really really good quality you
know they are absolutely perfectly
performed because because they’re
pressed with a decent pressed tool
rather than being handmade
so we stripped the old skins off the
door so it was just the just the
framework in there we had to do some
repair work on the hinges because they
were completely worn out and make some
new pins for them
we epoxy primed the inside of these new
outer skins and also at the same time as
the skins were removed we epoxy priming
the part of the inner framework that you
can’t get to once the skins attached so
all of the inner hidden parts of the
doors are all protected and then fitted
the new skin which is pretty much the
case for putting it over the frame
having an adhesive around there and then
how am i forming the sort of lip round
onto the frame it’s fairly clearly
standard stuff for somebody who’s used
to doing Dorsky repairs
once we got the door the doors really
skinned and we’re totally happy with the
gaps around them we turned our attention
to the interior we talked previously
about the interior design revisions and
obviously we had a fairly lengthy chat
with Gordon about what we were going to
do on the interior the reason for having
that discussion with Gordon about the
interior design changes at this stage
was because there’s going to be
metalwork involved in that you know a
lot of people have been sort of saying
why are you doing into so much detail
now and it’s it’s important to do that
because a lot of it affects what we’re
doing now we don’t want to be kind of
painting the shell and then finally
we’ve got to cut bits back out of it
again to make changes so you’ll probably
see straightaway there’s quite a
substantial change to the look of the
dashboard from that point down we’ve
completely scratch-made that that – and
we’ve the sort of main feature is there
is the instrument panel that sits here
with the auxiliary gauges and then
there’s going to be the heater controls
and the headlight control underneath
there and we’ve actually changed the
shape of the entire lower part of the
dash for a number of reasons we’ve
deepened this whole section here and
made it slightly more vertical and the
reason for making that deeper is kind of
threefold the first reason is having
this instrument panel here with the
shallower dash would mean a much deeper
drop down section which would start to
look cosmetically out of proportion with
the rest the second reason is you
probably remember Gordon had a seating
position that was way back you know
almost in the back of the car and the
steering wheel a lot lower you know the
steering wheel was probably four inches
on the column here at this point was
about three inches lower than standard I
think so we from a cosmetic point of
view it was going to be difficult to
make a column much lower and not just
look like a sort of hanging down
appendage on the bottom of the dash and
also from a strength point of view
difficult to make a mounting for it’s
that far below anything struct
so it made sense to drop the whole –
down and have a structural part of it
that we could that we could mount the
column to so it’s strong but also kind
of cosmetically you don’t have the
column hanging down miles below the dash
and thirdly the revised heater box
arrangement that we’re going to put in
will sit behind the dash and this extra
depth gives us a little bit more sort of
area to hide that away behind the dash
so there’s a few reasons for making
those changes the way we’ve done this
also to incorporate a lot of strength is
there’s a tube behind here 38 millon is
a substantial MIT’s like roll cage
tubing here which runs all the way
across follows that line down and back
up the other side and curves in to both
pillars and actually attach this to the
pillars and forms a pretty structural
part of the car so we’ve added a lot of
strength to the shell at that point the
steering columns and mounted directly to
that tube so it’s absolutely you know
solidly mounted to the shell and it also
gave us quite an easy way of achieving a
nice radius on the bottom here all of
the sheetmetal work is obviously just
handmade panel work and then this this
kind of bead that runs around the
perimeter here was designed to sort of
replicate the original shape of the
original pressing there and we just made
a tool for our Paul max sort of
reciprocating hammer so we could we
could form that bead all the way around
that section we’ve then added the glint
holes each side for the extra vents
we’re going to add that these are going
to be these out events here which just
the center two are actually going to
stay in the original position and then
we’re just having another two on each
side so yeah pretty major changes on the
their income is now not an escort
steering column it’s actually the
steering column from an Opel Manta which
we’ve kind of chosen because
dimensionally it was almost perfect and
it has a collapsible section in it so
it’s a little nicer from a safety point
of view if you have a big accident
rather than the solid bar coming up and
spearing you in the head it in theory it
collapses which which would be
preferable we’re still sort of decisions
still out on the switchgear we kind of
haven’t touched on that yet we’ve talked
about between us about doing our own
design of switch gear for it which would
be nice I mean the Manta does actually
have quite a nice simple single stalk
that does a lot of functions but there’s
a question mark there it seems we’re
going to this extent extent we’re kind
of thinking do we really want to use in
1980s indicator stalk even though it’s
infinitely better than the escort one
which just falls apart every time you
use it yeah I don’t know we’ll have to
make a decision on that one still and
yeah the pedals looking down in that
direction was another thing obviously
when God was here he was talking about
wanting him a bit further over so he had
room for a clutch rest so we very
angular the pedals to bring them further
to the right so there’s kind of space
for a foot between the clutch and the
tunnel now immediately after Gordon’s
trial fitting he he had the seat just
mounted on some real temporary kind of
flimsy brackets we’ve now made up the
final brackets for that now so the seat
mounts have done and then we have to do
this this crossmember section here which
kind of adds a structural section for
where the gearbox crossmember bolts in
underneath there was originally a
crossmember in the escort a different
position think it was further back so
we’ve added this this structure here
which kind of ties all the way across
and then underneath this section there’s
a there’s a cross member that goes
underneath the tunnel and adds the
strength in and then the cross member
bolts underneath this point here so
basically you’ve got like a real sturdy
section really all the way across the
width of the car over the tunnel and
then it’s kind of closed in by the
gearbox crossmember underneath and then
the final
bitte we’ve been working on in fact just
earlier today was this sort of bulkhead
panel that’s going to sit behind the
seats which again has a couple of
purposes it adds strength to the shell
there but it also stops luggage flying
around you know he wants this luggage
storage area in here and obviously
driving the car in a spirited fashion
which I imagine it will if you don’t
things flying around when you hit the
brake so the secondary purpose of that
is just to keep things in place when
they’ve got behind there so this is not
even attached at the minute this this is
a peace doers working on today and we’ve
we’ve just unformed this made some press
tools to press these sections and to
make it look a little more sort of
factory and original and then that just
into place here which pretty much
finishes the metalwork inside from kind
of behind the seat forwards and then
leads on to the gaping hole in the back
here which is what we’re working on at
the minute so there’s an enormous void
where we’ve cut out all of the rear
bulkhead and that’s sort of all tied in
to the changes were making with the rear
we made a bit of progress since last
time we’ve got some bits attached to the
back of the car now which is a bit of
progress the drawing that you saw last
time the the CAD drawing is now turned
into a big lump of nicely machined
aluminium and by alley Tech it’s all
still needed a very very very nice job
at machining there a bit nerve-wracking
because it was quite an expensive piece
if it went wrong so very happy with that
really good I’ve had a bit of a mock up
on the on the bench that was all that
all went well and everything lines up
we’ve finished a bit more of the front
of the subframe got this moustache bar
as I call it there’s a sort of a bent
bar across the front holds the front
subframe locating points got that bent
and shaped and welded into the front
carrier there’s another plate that’s got
to go on the double share plate that
holds the other side of the front
wishbone mount that’s still going to go
on and the diagonals are tacked on now
and then this side sort of loosely
mocked up with the wishbone there’s the
tolling still got to go in here on the
other side of the wishbone that’s not
not that critical for positioning of
anything that can be done on the bench
later on and then the uprights just
loosely chucked on at the moment just to
just to give us an idea of where
everything is that’s obviously going to
be a strut coming off there going up
into a turret that we’ve got a fabricate
into the arch tubes we’re going to put
we’re putting the tubes in first and
then we’ll we’ll put the turrets in into
the tubes afterwards and the strut
wherever I put it here yeah strut we’ve
done a mock-up strut which is
Freelander off’ right talked about
before we’re gonna lose this bottom look
that’s gonna be cut off lose that
otherwise it will be a standard
Freelander or four right so it’s sort of
easy enough to replace should you ever
need to I hope you didn’t need to do it
and then we’re doing a camber adjustment
through pucks on the upright there
basically that that sets the camber that
just pivots in there bottom box stood up
so I can’t show you it basically that
pivots and gives you about two and a
half degrees of camber adjustment either
way so there’s this plenty enough there
and then the the pucks drop in so that
that can’t slip and and adjust itself
over time once it’s set it set that gets
done up and that’s that’s fixed so the
strip the strut body then we’ll we’ll go
up into the turret
it’ll be coil over adjustable adjustable
platform damper so we can set ride
height and that’s that’s where that’s
there’s a couple of things we were we
were pondering whether it would all fit
under the standard floor and it nearly
does but not quite
it’s very tight just in the back of the
boot floor we’ve got to modify that and
we’re gonna have to do a little bit of a
modification further forward to get the
exhaust through those things nothing too
we’ve starts to started bracketing we’ve
got the the outer most brackets fitted
to the shelf that are carrying the frame
it’s fitted with them filming aluminium
bushes at the moment just just to align
it now those bushes are actually
slightly wider than the final
polyurethane bushes will be so we’ve got
some adjust some fine-tuning adjustments
in there there’ll be some stainless
steel shims that go in either side of
the brackets on that just to fine-tune
the adjustment of the subframe within
the shell at the moment these two
millimeters wider the aluminium bushes
than the than the final bushes will be
that go in there the next the next
phases are to do the remaining brackets
that bracket the subframe to the shell
and they’ll be foreign Lee welded once
the shells back on the spin so we can
spin it upside down to do the world’s
more easy we don’t really want to weld
upside down where we don’t have to so
they’ll be finished then but it’s make
the other brackets on there modify the
boot floor we’re modifying the rear
section of the boot floor for clearance
of the subframe and exhaust earrings so
we’ve got to modify that I need to make
the toe links for the for the rear
suspension there I need to make the
double sheer brackets for the front side
for the front brakes but from the stash
bar as I call it and then I’ve got to
make the double sheer brackets that come
off the back of the frame here and pick
up the other side of the lower bushes
there got to make those
do the turrets put the shock absorbers
into the turrets at that point it’s
pretty much got all the rear suspension
yeah I’m happy with it with the way it’s
all come out and so far it’s wood yeah I
think everything’s everything’s worked
out about how I wanted it to will we’ll
see when we when it gets the first test
drives it will be the proof of the
pudding I can see we’ll be playing with
dampers of it we’re playing with dampers
and spring rates a bit the main thing is
I wanted it just to be more refined than
a live axle without adding too much more
weight compared to live axle it’s like I
see no reason it won’t do that long as
we get as long as we get the damping
right yeah I think that’s I think most
of the rear end is then is sort of
falling into place
yeah a lot of people have sort of
commented on wanting more actual
progress in the YouTube videos and more
more work being done on the car shall we
say it it’s sort of to understand why
that’s not the case you’ve got to
understand you know why we’re we are
building a car we’re a business building
this car and the video series was only
ever thought of to just cover what’s
involved with a typical build on a car
you know we we are funding the video our
selves and to have somebody covering
every bit of work on the car we need a
full-time member of staff just filming
what was going on which is not something
they can afford to do and also it’s not
a thing that’s overly practical to do
we’d have to have that you know the
stuff would have to be microphones and
there’s so much noise going on half the
time you won’t be able to hear what they
were saying anyway but everything we do
is is photographed and posted on a
Facebook page which is a Facebook page
specifically for this project we have a
Facebook page for every project we do so
if you go on Facebook and search for
Gordon’s mark-1 you’ll find the page for
this and all the photographs are split
down into albums for each step sort of a
metal work album and you can you can
literally see every component we’ve made
being made and being welded in etc
there’s always kind of ups and downs
through a project you know there’s like
the downer of seeing what condition the
shells in and then it seems to the metal
work just seems to drag on and there’s
hours and hours and hours of labour
going in to what appears to be not that
much progress visibly and then suddenly
all the outer panel that goes on and
then you get dry build and then you if
you get to the point of seeing it on its
wheels with kind of the final stance to
it you know the excitement levels just
go massive and that’s the point where
you start visualizing what it’s going to
be like you know really in detail
finished but then of course it stripped
down and it goes in you know you start
to prep it to paint and that just seems
to be hours and hours and hours of
sanding with very little visible
programs but then suddenly in the space
of a day the paint goes off it totally
transforms so there’s a lot you know
there’s a lot of ups and downs like that
and then it’s very exciting particularly
for me at that stage when it’s a painted
shell because it comes through into the
sort of build area of the workshop which
is kind of my main area
so then it’s the sort of exciting bit of
bolting shiny bits onto a freshly
painted shell which is like the dream
situation for any car sort of car
enthusiast is having a basically a brand
new painted shell in front of and when
getting to shiny stuff on so there’s
lots of ups and downs but yeah it’s at
the stage now where I’m kind of
excitement levels are fairly high
because you close the doors on it and
it’s it’s a car you know all the panels
are there whereas when it quarter panels
removed and floors removed you can’t
help but think blimey this is a very
expensive skeleton of field
I’m not you know I’m not in the mood for
this today I don’t know why
I need to go that’s my trailer and get
some makeup my makeups not done I can’t
possibly manage this
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